Thursday, December 31, 2009

One Year Ago


Finally, He Posts New Year's Pictures...from Last New Year's

As of yesterday I had been away from home for one year; we left on the 28th on an 18 hour flight and landed on the thirtieth. Dates are crazy. As of about 2-3 PM today I have been a resident of Thailand for a year. If you had asked me two years ago if I'd ever live in Thailand, I probably would have laughed at you and said no; and yet I have six more months.

365 days ago I landed in Suvarnabhumi airport (several weeks after it had been released by the PAD) and took a taxi in to Bangkok. We got situated in our hotel, vegged out for a couple of minutes, and then went in to the city to Central World mall.

They may not be a predominantly Christian country but Thais will certainly take any reason to throw a party or decorate like crazy. The malls are absolutely dripping in lights and displays for several weeks and huge trees are found both on the inside and the outside of the malls. They last through days after New Year's, which is why I have pictures of them even though I wasn't in Bangkok last year on the 25th.

New Years itself sees large celebrations, and last year we spent most of the night on a blocked off road in front of Central World. Normally stopping in the middle of this street would have gotten you turned to paste by several cars, and run over by a motorcycle taxi to boot. But for New Year's it is fertile ground for laying down, and camping out while you wait for the count down.

Finally midnight strikes and there is great applause and fireworks are launched, to great cheering and celebrating; the same the world over. If I closed my eyes during the applause and the explosions, I could have been home. Thirty seconds earlier, during the countdown, wasn't quite so familiar however given they were counting down in Thai.

I haven't talked a whole lot about New Year's eve. There was originally some debate as to what we were going to do. Nathan wanted to go to Central World and see what they were doing, while his friend Susie wanted to go to a club called Santika. Nathan pressed, and Susie isn't the argumentative sort, and so we went to the mall.

Due to a combination of faulty pyrotechnics, terrible insulation, fewer doors than required by fire code and plate glass windows, 59 people were killed and many more injured as Santika burned down. So yeah, I got to call my mom on New Year's day to reassure her I hadn't died in a horrible fire, no doubt making her quite confident of the time I would be spending in Bangkok.

After that things progressed, and you know how the rest of the year went. My next post will be more of a reflection on a year here, I just wanted to finally throw up the couple of pictures I had from last New Year's.

T-Minus 1 hour 20 minutes till New Year's 2010, Happy New Year's everyone.